Caregiver took more than $30,000 from disabled couple, DA says

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A Wilkinsburg caregiver took more than $30,000 from a disabled couple and spent it at casinos and also made herself the beneficiary of their life insurance policies without their consent, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office said.

Barbara J. Davis, 46, of Wilkinsburg surrendered today to detectives from the district attorney's office on several charges related to the theft, office spokesman Mike Manko said. She was being held in the Allegheny County Jail on Wednesday afternoon awaiting arraignment, he said.

Geno, 78, and Lois Bussler, 58, hired Ms. Davis in 2007 to help with everyday needs, according to a criminal complaint. Mr. Bussler uses a wheelchair and his wife is blind.

For about three years, Ms. Davis has taken money from the couple's bank account beyond what was authorized, DA detectives said. More than 160 ATM withdraws were made at casinos locally and in Atlantic City, totaling $30,038 in unauthorized spending, police said.

When another caregiver became suspicious of Ms. Davis, Ms. Davis said she would check with the bank about the discrepancies, to which Mr. Bussler told her to "just pay the money back," police said.

Additionally, in May 2010 the beneficiary of the couple's life insurance policies was changed to Ms. Davis. Mr. and Mrs. Bussler told police they didn't know about the change and had never authorized it.

breaking - neigh_east

Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.


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